Friday, February 26, 1999


BancWest expands

The First Hawaiian parent
adds to its holdings by
buying SierraWest

Star-Bulletin staff


BancWest Corp., parent of First Hawaiian Bank and California-based Bank of the West, has agreed to acquire SierraWest Bancorp for BancWest shares worth an estimated $194 million.

SierraWest, with assets of $879 million, has 20 branches stretching from San Francisco to Reno, Nev. Walter A. Dods Jr., Banc-West chairman and chief executive, said SierraWest has an impressive record of commercial lending, particularly to small businesses.

He said the bank is one of the top originators of Small Business Administration loans and has 10 lending offices focused on SBA-backed loans in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Tennessee.

SierraWest will be merged into Bank of the West, now the fifth-largest bank in California, boosting its assets to $8.6 billion. The parent BancWest has assets of $15 billion. The acquisition requires approval by SierraWest shareholders and federal and state bank regulators. BancWest said that assuming all approvals are in place, the merger should be completed in mid-1999. SierraWest shareholders will receive 0.82 shares of BancWest common stock for each share of SierraWest common, and BancWest will issue 4.6 million shares for the transaction.

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